Jesus says of His Father, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He sent.” (Jn 6:29)
This statement is extraordinary! God is the perfect communion of Love. The three Persons of the Holy Trinity do not need anything. They are complete in Themselves. We add nothing to their Love. So, to hear that God sends His only Son for us to believe speaks of a Love so generous, so pro-active, so self-giving, so inclusive, it is quite frankly, hard to believe.
All my life I had hoped this Love was real, but it was not until my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Pilgrim Center of Hope, that I came to believe in this Love and to what lengths God works for us.
Catholic teaching professes that Perfect Love, which is God Himself, is offered to us through the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I saw for myself, how the Holy Land is covered in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
We pilgrims journeyed from Galilee in the North “up to Jerusalem,” (Mat 20:18) in the South. Looking out the window from the comfort of our air-conditioned bus, I marveled at the many, many, many . . . many miles our Lord walked. I thought about all the places He slept, He ate and, because even to a South Texan like me it was so incredibly hot, I thought about how much His sweat must have poured out onto this vast terrain He covered by foot.
What kind of a God, I wondered, walks hundreds of miles to reach His people instead of commanding they come to Him?
One who is sent.
The work of God was displayed in the Garden Of Gethsemane, filled with olive trees. We learned that in the time of Jesus, oil of the olive was released by crushing the olive between two enormous stones, just as the Lord, “crushed for our iniquity,” (Is 53:5) released sweat “like drops of blood falling on the ground.” (Lk 22:44).
In traveling from the Garden to Calvary, we walked the road that was covered in tears when “He drew near, saw the city and wept over it” (Lk 19:41).
Again I wondered . . . . what kind of a God creates an olive that must be crushed to release oil and then allows Himself to be crushed between past and future sins of humanity in the same way?
What kind of a God cries for the very people who will do the crushing?
Seeing for myself the work of God, my hope transformed into belief in Love so generous, so pro-active, so self-giving, so inclusive, it must also include a sinner like me.
The intensity of God’s toil is most clearly revealed at Calvary, covered by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, inside the old walls of Jerusalem. Here, Christ was stripped, nailed to a cross, hung until dead and was “pierced for our sins” (Is 53:5). The Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us poured out onto the very ground we pilgrims walked, knelt and touched.
I invite you to wonder . . . . what kind of a God sends His only Son to incur the punishment due us? Why does the One sent obey?
So that you would believe in a Love so generous, so pro-active, so self-giving, so inclusive, it must also include a sinner like you.
I encourage you to make your own journey to Love! The Pilgrim Center of Hope is organizing two pilgrimages to the Holy Land this Spring 2015. Visit www.pilgrimcenterofhope.org or call 210-521-3377 for more information.